Summer has arrived and that means life takes on a slower pace. That, at least, is the theory. And it's the reason we often set aside reading and listening for the abundant leisure time that we hope lies just around the corner.
For the classical music lover who may not want to crack open that volume of War and Peace that's been gathering dust, here are some suggestions. Below is what CBC Music producers and hosts will be listening to over the summer months.
Katherine Duncan, host of In Tune
Album: Returnings, Ann Southam (2011, Centrediscs)
Artist: Eve Egoyan (piano)
"I've been carrying Returnings back and forth between home and the office for weeks, but haven't yet managed to press 'play' on what may well be an enchanting musical experience. I love Eve Egoyan's 2009 recording of Ann Southam's Simple Lines of Enquiry. Maybe I'm afraid I won't love this one as much? Either way, I'm hoping to find a bit of quiet space in my life this summer to give it the attention it no doubt deserves."
Alison Howard, producer
Album: Schumann: Piano Works (2010, Virgin)
Artist: Piotr Anderszewski (piano)
"Poland: a nation of soups and pianists. My Polish mother-in-law's effortlessly created homemade soups are a heaven of flavour and wholesomeness and whatever's in the ground over there seems to have nurtured the country's pianists as well. Think of Arthur Rubinstein and Krystian Zimerman. This summer, I'll be sampling the recordings of Piotr Anderszewski. His disc of the music of Schumann has earned him Recording of the Year honours from the BBC Music Magazine. Soup's on!"
Michael Juk, producer
Album: Symphony No.7, Leningrad (1989, DG)
Artists: Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein
"Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7 has become a symbol of the pursuit of justice and personal freedom. Shostakovich was under tremendous pressure to produce a patriotic work that aligned with the values of the former Soviet Union. Today, it is clear he was really making a statement against the regime that oppressed him and his countrymen. This is dedicated to all who struggle for justice and the elevation of human values this summer, wherever they may be." This video contains the final few hair-raising minutes:
Michael Morreale, associate producer of Tempo
Album: Delius box: 150th Anniversary (2011, EMI)
Artists: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Richard Hickox
"Sadly, it takes a round-numbered anniversary to delve into some composers. Frederick Delius's 150th caught my attention earlier this year and ever since I keep revisiting his music. He had an interesting story. Young Delius didn't care much for inheriting his father's wool business so he left England for Florida at age 22 to run an orange plantation. He ultimately failed to squeeze any success out of the venture, but did manage to pick up a few folk melodies along the way, which make up his Florida Suite."
Andrea Ratuski, producer
Album: Debussy, Fauré, Chopin (1990, RCA Victor)
Artists: Amsterdam Guitar Trio
"For the last few years my husband and I have set ourselves the task of really getting to know a composer's body of orchestral work. So each summer we gather up the complete symphonies of a composer, take them out to the cottage and listen to one a day. So far we've explored the symphonic music of Mahler, Beethoven, Sibelius and Dvorak. But when not devoting time to such lofty goals, I like to kick back with a fun recording that is probably 20 years old now. It features the Amsterdam Guitar Trio playing arrangements of Debussy and Chopin. You can't beat sitting back on the deck listening to En bateau while watching the waves rippling below."
Jeff Reilly, producer of Choral Concert
Album: The Dowland Project: Care-charming sleep (2003, ECM)
Artists: John Potter (tenor), Stephen Stubbs (lute), Maya Homburger (violin), John Surman (saxophone) and Barry Guy (bass)
"I am relishing the idea of finding uninterrupted time to indulge in some deep listening to music that I love. This release combines many of my musical loves into one package: the music of John Dowland (so poignant, intense and passionate) with a group of world-class performers who straddle baroque interpretation and the leading edge of contemporary improvisation. With John Potter at the helm (who was with the Hilliard Ensemble for so many years) and Maya Homburger, who is John Eliot Gardiner's favourite violinist, there is much in here that promises delight."
Robert Rowat, community producer, classical music
Album: Haydn Sonatas, Vol. 3 (2012, Hyperion)
Artist: Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
"Marc-André Hamelin is one of today's most compelling pianists, but he specializes in repertoire – Liszt, Medtner, Alkan – that I find better suited to the concert hall than the screen porch. Hamelin's latest release, however, tops my summer listening list: it's the third volume, a double CD, of his Haydn sonatas series for Hyperion. This is music full of sunshine and humour. Since I'm too old to jump through a sprinkler, I'll seek refreshment in Haydn. I'm looking forward to discovering things in these pieces I've never noticed before, such is Hamelin's thoroughness as an interpreter."
Francesca Swann, producer
Album: J.S.Bach Cello-Suiten (1995, EMI)
Artist: Mstislav Rostropovich
"I grew up in Oxford, England, and when I was 15 my mother took me to hear Mstislav Rostropovich play three of Bach's cello suites at one of the university colleges. I sat on the floor just a few feet from the great man, close enough to hear the intake of his breath and see small clouds of rosin explode from the impact of his bow on the strings. It was one of the most memorable concerts of my life and I’ve come to appreciate Rostropovich’s interpretations of the Bach suites as a legacy against which all others are measured. So, I feel it’s time to listen to Rostropovich again and re-set my Bach cello suite ears. Rostropovich said of these suites that: 'Each day, each hour, each minute you reflect upon them, you reach deeper.' Words I’ll ponder – along with the music – in summer’s warm embrace."
Scott Tresham, producer
Album: Gregory Spears: Requiem (2011, New Amsterdam)
Artists: Ruth Cunningham and Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek (sopranos), Ryland Angel and John Olund (tenors), Lawrence Lipnik (tenor recorders), Kurt-Owen Richards (bass chimes), Jacqueline Kerrod (pedal harp), Christopher Williams (troubador harp), Daniel Thomas Davis (electric organ) and Elizabeth Weinfeld (viola).
"This recording is not the most polished of performances (one tenor in particular is often out of tune and the ensemble is not always together). Yet despite that (or maybe because of it?), Gregory Spears's Requiem is what jumps immediately to mind as the most original and captivating classical albums I've heard all year. If you like your early music Hilliard Ensemble-style and your modern music along the lines of Benjamin Britten and Maurice Duruflé, Philip Glass and Arvo Pärt, you might want to give this one a listen."
What classical music will you be listening to this summer? Let us know in the comments below, or write to email@example.com.
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on Jun 22, 2012